Inspiration—it comes in all shapes and sizes, but for me to write my debut romantic suspense novel The Halo Effect, inspiration came in the form of self-therapy after a horrific experience of being stalked by someone I trusted.
Many stories deal with finding true love and have a clear villain trying to thwart the budding romance, but what happens when the love isn’t as real as you hoped, and the villain is…yourself? We are often, after all, our own enemy.
Let me give you an example of this from my own life.
Sitting in a waiting room one day, an elderly woman chose the blue-checkered seat next to me. Dried raisin lips, silver-white permed hair cut in a wash-and-go pixie style, cheerful blue eyes that sparkled with humor. Immediately I was charmed as we chatted about this and that—child-rearing, weather, books. Then she said something that shook me from any plane of normalcy I was perched on.
“I haven’t taken those things for granted since I was released from jail,” she said as a lull wove its way into our conversation.
“Jail?” I parroted. Certainly this sweet old lady with her rose-patterned blouse, A-line skirt, and shape-forming pantyhose didn’t mean jail…where creeps and criminals go.
“Unfortunately so,” she said. “For murder.”
Murder? No, it couldn’t be. She didn’t look like the murdering type—you know, soot-black teeth with an occasional gold filling, sinister scowl, gang tattoos peeking through a tattered, stained muscle shirt.
“Wow…” was all I could mutter.
“I murdered my husband when I caught him in bed with another woman. And I regret that reaction every day. Lost everything, because I didn’t know how to forgive when I needed to most.”
She went on to share how she was a homemaker with young kids in a blessed life, but in that single moment she faced a decision and snapped. She made a mistake and it cost her a lot…but not everything. After all, she was sitting next to me, a free woman after doing her time, rebuilding her life and reconciling with her children.
How characteristically human she was. In that momentary decision she was her own worst enemy—making a choice that would send her to jail and leave a lifelong imprint. And the love she thought she had wasn’t all it was cracked up to be when she discovered her husband was cheating.
My thriller novel, The Halo Effect, deals with exactly this type of person. A regular Joe—or Josephine—slapped with a tough choice but who makes the wrong one…and it costs a lot. The story follows a woman, Haley Montgomery, in the small town of Westfield, New York, as she sets out on a path of self-discovery after years of living for her lonely widower mother. Then Haley stumbles upon the man of her dreams—Italian stallion Marc Vincetti—and the job of her dreams with Hollywood producer Allen Michaels, and everything seems so perfect…a glimpse of what most people feel when things are going just right.
Until Allen’s job opportunity turns out to have a price tag she’s unwilling to pay, and her love affair reveals an unwanted third party. People get hurt, people get scared, and people react. Relationships are destroyed, Allen Michaels is accused of murder, and Haley finds herself being interrogated by the police for something she doesn’t remember ever doing. Who is the villain, and who can we trust? And will love win out in the end?
How could these people we’ve come to adore be so devious? So twisted? The Halo Effect digs into this human dilemma and shows that among us are lovable villains. But like with the forgiveness that Ms. Jailbird Golden Girl eventually embraced, the characters of The Halo Effect learn that forgiveness is the key to a happy ending.
Most people want a happy ending packed with lots of love, and in most cases it’s achievable, even for the ex-con lady who went on to tell me that she met a wonderful man, got married, and has an amazing new life with him. That’s what inspires me. Overcoming the bumps along the way and coming out stronger than before.
Pick up a copy of The Halo Effect at Kindle/Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Halo-Effect-ebook/dp/B007EUSNNU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337732077&sr=1-3), Kobo (http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-Halo-Effect/book-SwO3JkkX_kSSiNdQBt2qfQ/page1.html?s=HstoOpAHH0KZIQauBhiL4w&r=1) and Fictionwise (http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b132182/?si=0)
About the Author:
Pamela Crane’s addiction to writing started with a children’s short story competition and a first place win for her fable Weedlia’s Fate. Now, decades later, along with being a wife and mother, she’s nurtured her love of writing to build a career as an editor and novelist. Along with shaping quirky characters and plotlines that reflect glimpses of her own life, she enjoys riding her proud Arabian horse—when he lets her. She has a passion for ministry, and her hopes are to keep earning enough from her writing to travel the world in search of some good story material.